Marble House, one of the Preservation Society of Newport County’s major historic house museums, will reopen for tours on Friday, Feb. 14, after undergoing a six-week-long deep cleaning.
The house, built between 1888 and 1892 for William K. Vanderbilt and his wife, Alva, will be open daily at 10 a.m. for self-guided audio tours, with the last tour admission at 4 p.m.
During the deep cleaning, 10 caretakers worked eight hours a day to painstakingly clean all rooms, furniture, textiles and decorative objects. Much of the detailed work was performed with fine brushes, cotton swabs and small sponges. The task was made more challenging by the need to avoid using any harsh cleaning solutions.
In addition, the Preservation Society’s professional conservation and collections staffs assessed dozens of objects in the house and worked on several that needed special treatment. This included a 3-by-6-foot ornamental plaster ceiling panel in the Gold Room that was taken down and reassembled to make it stronger and more corrosion-resistant.
“This kind of work often goes unseen by the general public, but it is crucial to our mission of preservation,” Preservation Society CEO and Executive Director Trudy Coxe said. “The scale of this project has been immense. It isn’t just six weeks of painstaking vacuuming, dusting, painting and repair work – all under the pressure of a tight deadline. There were also months of strategic planning before the work ever started. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished.”
Marble House, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, will be the site of several major Preservation Society events this year, including the annual Summer Dinner Dance on Aug. 15; a celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote on Aug. 26; and the Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival’s Grand Tastings, September 19-20.